Sara Sampaio‘s stunning face has become a familiar one as she racks up huge modeling gigs for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, and most recently, as a beauty ambassador for Giorgio Armani. But while she’s become increasingly visible in media, it was a personal post on social media in 2018 about her struggle with trichotillomania that may have very well earned her more admirers than ever. The 28-year-old model is attending the Venice Film Festival with Armani, and Allure joined her to talk about how the impulse-control disorder has helped her connect with fans, the product that she prefers for filling in her eyebrow gaps, and the makeup item she wants to create one day.
“I just want people to feel good about themselves, and if me sharing my story did that, that’s just amazing,” Sampaio tells Allure, reflecting on when she told her Instagram followers that the gaps in her brows are a result of trichotillomania, which causes long-term urges to pull out one’s hair. “I’ve just been really trying to have people just not feel ashamed about it.” And as Sampaio’s experience with it exemplifies, it’s not necessarily the hair on the top of the head that’s affected by trichotillomania. “Lots of men pick on their beard. You can literally pick on wherever you have hair.”
And people with all different types of hair-pulling and skin-picking impulse disorders appreciated Sampaio’s candidness. “We all have our things, and even for me, I think the more we talk about things, the easier they are to deal with. That’s also why I wanted to be so open about it,” says Sampaio, who has been working with the TLC Foundation, which helps people with their body-focused repetitive behaviors. “So many people contact me because of that, and it’s been great.”
Sampaio’s picking impulses vary based on different factors. “There are weeks that are really bad,” she tells Allure.”I was on vacation on a boat, and I didn’t pick for the whole week. As soon as I got back to New York, it was just crazy picking.” She has a positive attitude about it, though, finding tricks to help prevent her from pulling her eyebrow hairs and camouflage evidence that she has been.
“I’m very lucky in the way that I have it because it’s not my hair, and it’s easy to cover with it with makeup,” says Sampaio, who has noticed that she’s less likely to pick at her eyebrows where there’s makeup on them. And as an Armani beauty ambassador, she’s been introduced to a product that she has found is ideal for filling in any gaps: the High Precision Brow Pencil. She loves how thin it is, and how the comb end lets you customise the results for a really natural look. “[Other] pencils just feel like you just painted your eyebrow, and I really like them to look as natural as possible.”
Although the High Precision Brow Pencil is a newer discovery for Sampaio, she was already a fan of Giorgio Armani Beauty products before scoring her ambassador role last year. “I actually used them a lot, even before I started working with them, so it’s been amazing,” she tells Allure. One of her favourite products? Rouge D’Armani Matte Lipstick in 400 — and that’s quite an honour, considering how admittedly picky Sampaio is about her red lipsticks. “I just love those rich reds, like a really rich red, and Armani’s known for their reds.”
But as much as she adores Amani’s 400, that hasn’t stopped her from dreaming of coming up with a red lipstick of her own. “I would love to create, maybe one day, my perfect red lipstick,” Sampaio tells Allure, explaining that she understands her perfect red may not be someone else’s. “I think reds are all subjective because it depends on your skin tone, your lip colour. My lips are already really pink, so obviously, a certain red will look different [on me] than, for example, on someone else that has more pale lips.”
But while she isn’t sure what the exact shade would be, she already has one rule about this hypothetical perfect red lipstick. “I remember doing this shoot, and I had a really glossy red, and then there was wind in my hair, and it’s just like red everywhere,” Sampaio says. “Matte is just easier to maintain.”